ACS 2017 - Behind the Scenes
Hey folks! ACS playoffs kick off today at 13:00 EST, which means that Sunday we will be declaring the champion of Warcraft in the Americas. To celebrate how successful the tournament has been thus far, and to provide some insight into the "behind-the-scenes" work necessary to get this tournament running, North American tournament manager Over-Admire, South American tournament manager Martial Spirit, and organizer and caster DPort have agreed to answer some questions for us.
Once again, interviews are hidden with the Spoiler! function to make the document easier to navigate.
Before the interviews, I thought it would be prudent to include the following information:
Date and time:
Group A and B matches: Saturday September 9th, 13:00 EST
Group C and D matches: Sunday September 10th, 13:00 EST
Cast by: DPort, Ena1337, Thendis (who co-casted with DPort on DPort's Twitch Channel), and DHamTV
[Spoiler] Live Bracket
Group A and B Enacast VOD
Group C and D Enacast VOD
Interview with Over-Admire
1) Tell us about yourself (what do you do outside of Warcraft? What race do you play? Any really cool facts about yourself that you want us to know?) Explain a little what you do for the Warcraft scene. What projects have you been involved in recently/are working on now?
Hi Moonstruck, thanks for having me . My name is Leroy Morgado, outside of the Warcraft world I work at PEPSI as a maintenance resource manager. So not only am I organizing online but offline as well too :P I have several Hobbies, which include being a semi-pro Magic The Gathering player. I travel all over North America participating in PPTQ an Pro Tour events. As you may know, I am a Father to a wonderful 5 year old lil girl :D Within the Warcraft community I play several roles. I am an ESL admin and w3a community manager. I joined the ESL team last summer, in efforts to boost events for the American scene. I have great colleagues, and we work diligently to provide events for the Warcraft 3 community. I joined w3a this past May in efforts to work with Dieseldog and tackle community management, which sometimes feels like a never ending job. Last but not least me and ena1337 manage our team, Clan Vikings. We are hoping to reach our second first place finish this season! One of my most favorite events that I've helped with (other then ACS of course :P) has to be WCA 2016 Europe and American Qualifers , working along side with Ugri and Neo was such an honor.
2) Tell us a bit about the planning of ACS. How was the idea for this tournament made? How did you go about turning ACS from an idea to a tournament for essentially the entire Western Hemisphere?
Ah, yes, the planning for ACS. I gotta hand it to Ugri on that one. He approached me with this big idea, to showcase the American players on a stage that was worthy. ACS was very carefully planned. From the selection of invited players, crowdfunding, regional qualifers and regional managers. Ugri pulled together people from all ends of America. What made the planning smooth was having a manager for each region. Having dedicated people to take ownership of their region was a great way to share the work load. CostAlex for Brazil, Andres [Martial Spirit] for Latin America, Ugri for AUZ/NZ an my self for North America.
3) You were the North American Manager for this tournament. How did you become involved in NA Warcraft, and what are your current roles in the scene? Do you know any of the players personally, and if so, how well?
Currently I'm the main guy that people approach when it comes to contacting North American players. I’ve made a lot of close friendships over the years with some of our favorite NA players (priest, insup, longwalk ). I’ve also made many other close friendships with people all over the world. From South America, Europe, Russia and China! Some of these friendships I’ve created online with wc3 are 10+ years old. Some of the friendships I've made have actually helped me through some tough times. I know some of these online personalities better then some of the people I see everyday in my life. My organizing days started way before I even installed w3a on my computer, back on USEAST (Azeroth) [a Battle Net server]. I was hosting small events for my clans (WWF, VIKI, GGL) as earlier as 2009.
4) Did you, like many of us I think, ever dream of becoming a professional gamer? A professional Warcraft 3 player? Do you enjoy the duties of an organizer, or is it more of a way to stay connected to the game and keep the scene going strong?
My Journey in the warcraft 3 scene started WAY back in 2002 with the participation of the Warcraft 3 beta testing! I was 15-16 years old when I started playing wc3 (I am 31 years old now). I instantly feel in love with the Undead race :D With the release of TFT, Warcraft 3 was thriving! Bnet servers were always full, and many tournaments were happening. Some of us might remember the late nights we all spent searching games till the wee hours of the morning! I think at some point all of us dreamed of being a pro gamer, who wouldn't love to make a living from something they love so much. I took a shot at being a player. I quickly realized after losing to shortround at the 2004 WCG Las Vegas offline Qualifer that I would never be able to achieve that. I talked to some of the other pros at that event and they were putting in 5-9 hours a day practising! I just did not have the time for that. I took a small break after that and didn’t touch wc3 from 2005-2008. Upon my return to warcraft3 I saw the NA Warcraft scene slowly dying. I knew I would never make an impact for NA as a player, but maybe as a organizer and supporter I could bring Life back into the NA scene. I definitely enjoy my duties as an organizer :D My Goal is to help keep this game alive an help showcase our American players.
I also support the EU scene very much. I work along side our ESL team and w3a team to bring events and content to all that play Warcraft 3.
5) How do you feel the groupstages for ACS went, from an organization point of view? Is there anything you are planning on changing for the playoffs this weekend, or will it just be business as usual?
I felt the groupstages went smoothly. We had a few hiccups (2-3 players not showing up/ last min replacements). There are few things we could have done better. I think being able to have more casting coverage for the group stages would have been ideal. One of our main goals this weekend for the playoffs is to ensure we have a planned casting schedule, to get as much coverage across all the games. Our admin team worked fast and quickly to find replacements for the no-shows. It really helped having a regional managers for each section NA,SA,Brazil and AUZ/NZ to be swift in contacting an communicating with potential replacements.
6) As just a fan, who do you hope will win ACS this year? Who do you think has the best chance of winning?
As a fan I’m really rooting for one of my Team ViKi League players Myst, Priest, Danger or Hunter to claim the title :). As for who has the best chance of winning, I'm thinking Longwalk or ferfe will be very hard to beat!
9) Is there anything you wish I had asked? Feel free to mention anything you want to say that you haven't had a chance to yet.
Yes, "will there be an ACS next year?" We are planning on making ACS an annual event! We want this tournament to happen every year, and I will do anything in my power to ensure we keep the wheels moving on ACS:D America Warcraft 3 is very strong, we have a huge viewerbase and an even bigger playerbase. I wanna give a shout out to my ESL team adn w3a team, you guys rock and remember all this hard work we do is for something! Shoutouts to my Team Vikings clanmates, well be chasing for that first place spot again in NWC3L this season. VIKI FIGHTING!:) Also a big Thanks to the B2W team (Neo/Remo). You have brought much joy to all of our hearts with your casting. My wife especially loves it when there is an intense play happening and Neo gets super excited and starts shouting! She gets all amped up and we’re on our feet cheering as we watch the stream on our flatscreen TV. A special shout out to ena1337, he’s one of the hardest working individuals in the wc3 scene today. Last but not least I want to take this time to give a warm special thanks to Ugri. He took me under his wing in 2013 /2014 when I joined his admin team in playFFA. He has showed me the ropes when it comes to organizing on a professional level. He is very level headed and has taught me many life skills outside of wc3. Thanks Ugri.
P.S. Hey Moonstruck, I heard you live very close to me (like a 20min drive?) maybe some beers are in order :) Cheers mate, thanks for the interview. Long Live the Frozen Throne!
While I don't know exactly how long it would take me to get to where Over-Admire lives, twenty minutes is a pretty good estimate based off the cities we are both living in now. If a wacky Canadian cup gets announced soon sponsored by Over-Admire and MR_Moonstruck, then you know the beers were good ;)
Interview with Martial Spirit
1) Tell us about yourself (what do you do outside of Warcraft, what is your favourite race and why, who is your favourite player of all time, etc.)
Hi, My name is Andres Paz Soldan aka MartialSpirit, I’m 33 years old and I live in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. I work as a freelancer, I do UI/UX Design, Front-End Design, Wordpress Design and I’m learning some Front-End kung-fu, too. I spend my time with my wife, working, learning new stuff, playing WarcraftIII and helping the Latin American community grow.
I started as an undead player because I thought they were the most powerful race. However, I had to switch to human because I couldn’t micro too well with the delay I had, so I needed to prioritize my macro, battle positioning and unit composition rather than precision and micro.
My favorite player of all time is TH000. I think he is the most awesome player in the world, not because he wins all competitions, but because he provides so much value to Warcraft with his innovation and creativity. Thanks to him the meta game is not the only thing we see in semi professional and professional competitions. He can play any race and still give a damn good fight to any opponent. Last but not least, the level of entertainment that TH000 gives us is out of this world, he has a totally different notion of Warcraft and sometimes he pulls off some super exciting games (like the game in Last Refuge vs Yumiko some days ago, man that was a nail biter).
2) You are the South American Manager for ACS. How did you first get involved in Warcraft, and how did this progress to be manager of an entire continent?
I was in college and saw the geeks playing Warcraft, and I asked if that game was good, they said it was not for low IQ and impatient people like me. I got kind of angry at what the geeks said about me and started playing. I didn’t even know how to type correctly, and I don’t come from the StarCraft I generation, so the controls, the gameplay, everything was alien to me. I was very frustrated but what kept me going was the campaign, the overall story and meeting NDS.Gon, a fantastic human player that was level 50 in Azeroth back in 2005. He was like a mentor to me and inspired me to be better and not fear any player. After one year of effort, I destroyed all the geeks that were talking stuff about me in college, and I was craving for more Warcraft, because the better you play, the more you enjoy this game. That’s why I can’t stop playing, even if I have to manage clan wars and events, I still find some time to play and improve a little bit.
In 2006, I was nominated chieftain of clan CELP (a Bolivian clan) because the old chieftain had to leave and I was the most active player. I didn’t settle for just having active players in CELP, I created the first semi professional team of Bolivia. We never won a Nation Wars, but I gave my country the privilege of realizing Warcraft is not a game, it is a cybersport. What do you do with sports? You compete! Because competing gets the best of you, and that’s what Warcraft does with me. My best achievement was to give birth to the Bolivian orc superstar Adshy, he was nearly as good as Danger or Odin back then, I was very proud of him (Adshy quit playing Warcraft because he became a father and had to change his routine).
In 2008, the Bolivian team disbanded due to the inactivity of players and I decided to follow my own path as a player. I was part of the active roster in clan OWNU, and I won some nice matches but I had to stop because the internet in Bolivia was pretty bad and messed up everything. Besides, I went through a bad economic situation and I needed to focus on working and becoming a better professional.
In 2016, a friend sent me an invitation to Walter’s Latin American Warcraft Community on Facebook, and I saw Walter was organizing some tournaments for the Latin American Community and stuff. I got excited and managed to install Warcraft again and I started to play in W3Arena. After helping Walter with some events and getting to know some guys in the community, I ended up in Clan LS as a player. Three days after I was recruited, the manager Ls.Psike became a closer friend and he asked me if I could help him manage the clan with him. I was honored because clan LS had Walter and Mackay, so I accepted and we started an awesome journey. Clan LS now participates in the NWC3L and the WC3CL and we are getting better, knowing players from Europe and the world, and improving our competitive Warcraft. Our vision is to create a new generation of players, preparing them not only as players, but also as persons. We believe that if you grow as a person, you also grow as a player, and viceversa. This is why it’s fantastic to work with Ls.Psike and the guys of LS in this project.
In 2017, the Latin American community needed more motivation and incentive. I met Ugrilainen and talked a lot about how difficult it is not to be Asian and try to have a competitive Warcraft, especially in America. So we decided to organize the America Challenge, which consisted in a 50$ prize pool BO5 of an Asian versus an American. Walter played SoIn and it was fantastic, Walter lost 3-2 but we stated something clearly: South America has good players and can compete!
ACS was born from this great success in America Challenge and due to the fact that we don’t have a GCS qualifier like Asia and Europe, we don’t have a Gera Cup like Europe… we needed to start somewhere.
Managing an entire continent? Well, honestly, few ones want to do the hard work. This is an honor to me because it helps me realize how many people in the scene love this game so much, that they give away their free time and energy for making things happen and keeping this game alive. There is no better thing than knowing I work with a group of people that love this game as much as I do or even more. This is how I feel when I represent South America in the global scene.
3) How did the idea for ACS come about? What has been your role in making this tournament so successful?
No WCA for Warcraft, no GCS for America, no Gera cup for America, no American Warcraft Server (I don’t want to include Blizzard’s servers because they don’t fit our needs, sorry to say this but it’s the sad truth). There was practically no incentive for good players in South America. I mean, you can encourage people to keep playing because they love Warcraft, but you can’t deny that it’s so much better when there is a big event with decent prizemoney, good organization and coverage… that’s a totally different picture.
4) Outside of ACS, what is you role in Warcraft? What is a typical day of being an organizer in Warcraft like?
I am having a hard year of work and some weeks I don’t play regularly, but I normally like to spend 2 to 4 hours a day training my skills and managing the clan. On Sundays, I have lunch very late because Psike and I spend a lot of time managing the clan, communicating with the other players and playing leagues. It’s a blessing that my wife dedicates that time for painting, and then we eat something good later and spend time after the clan wars.
5) How would you describe the South American Warcraft community right now? Many Europeans right now are used to cheering for players such as Foggy and OrcWorker in events such as Gera Cups. What competitions are popular in South America right now, and who are the favourite/best players?
South America lacks local competitions to this day. However, we encourage the players to play Gera Cups, Moo Cups, Ena Cups, NWC3L, WC3CL, but some of them need management involved and we need more clans and more managers for supporting a bigger competitive community. Occasionally, Walter and I organize some tournaments here and there, but the attendance is not as high as expected, and that leaves me to focus on the few players who really want to compete, play and become better.
It’s hard to say who is the best player in South America. Danger and Hunter have vast experience, professionalism, super micro, timing and battle positioning. Despite not being active all the time, these two are formidable foes and can take the crown without big hassle.
The most successful active player nowadays is Walter, I admire his resilience and bravery because he recovers from very difficult games and he grows when he faces difficult opponents.
I personally want to highlight the rising human star Mackay from Chile. He is my favorite player because he is human (yes, it matters to me because I’m human haha) mannered, humble, dedicated, and his level has improved so much this semester, I’m glad to have him in the team I hope to offer him more opportunities for becoming better.
6) A few of the ACS players mentioned you as a strong South American player (mentioned by Fenix and DanGer in interviews which can be found in our last ACS article here). How would you say you fit skill-wise into the competitive scene. particularly with regard to the other South American players? Do you participate in many Warcraft competitions, or do you have plans to do so more in the future?
I was becoming strong in 2008, I could feel it because I faced opponents like verGe.Virus, Nap0muk, Kayo, enTe, and many others, and I lost sometimes, but I could hurt them, I could make them feel super uncomfortable playing against me. I was super active, dedicating 8 hours a day to Warcraft. Sadly, I had to stop doing that because if you’re not a pro gamer, you can’t keep that routine forever. I now came back and I think I’m almost back to my old shape, but people got so much better, the gameplay changed and became so dynamic, now everyone uses zeppelins, everyone knows shop item timings, t2 building timings, and many things that only the decent players knew back in my days. It’s hard for me and I’m still getting used to the Warcraft of today. I’m not strong comparing to Danger, Hunter, Walter and Mackay, but I am still among the top10 best South American Players and I hope that someday I show improvement by beating a really good player in the leagues or tournaments.
I can now afford decent internet service, I have a nice computer, and I have some time that I love to spend playing and supporting this fantastic cybersport. I’m not going anywhere, so I’m not saying I’ll be the next rising star, but I expect to beat semi professional (70%) Euro players before this year ends. From there, let’s see where this leads us, I just enjoy the journey and give the best of me.
7) From an organizational point of view, how has ACS gone so far? Will there be any changes to the way things are run for the playoffs this weekend, or has the tournament run more or less smoothly from the organizer's side of things?
I make every management decision with care because it affects others. Since this is the first time I’m helping organize an event like ACS, I will analyze every specific situation that comes up and communicate with the other organizers to get to a decision. Right now, I am doing my best for avoiding def-losses and so far no def-loss has been given. The biggest challenge for the next possible ACS will be to avoid def-losses and help players respect schedules.
8) Who was your favourite player going into ACS? Who do you think is most likely to win the tournament?
My favorite player to win ACS would be Mackay, I think that if he displays all his skills with confidence, he can make it.
Why do I want him to win? Because I have seen the effort and dedication he put into this sport and it would be refreshing for the scene to see an unexpected player winning an American tournament.
9) I have seen this question in Ugrilainen's interviews and I think it is brilliant: is there anything you wish I had asked? Feel free to mention anything you want to say that you haven't had a chance to yet.
I just want to say thank you to Ugri and Over Admire for this opportunity, and hi to all my friends from Warcraft (headintheclouds, bomber, aleatorio, mackay, walter, skuyt, takulla, blazz, fred, acid, and more). Thank you Mr Moonstruck for this interview and for all super awesome content you provide us regularly. My best regards to the Latin American Community, keep growing strong, guys.
Interview with DPort
1) Tell us about yourself (what do you do outside of Warcraft, what is your favourite race to play and why, how did you become a caster, etc.)
I’m 22 years old and I live in Michigan. I enjoy hanging out with friends, drinking beer, watching sports, and I currently work as a software developer. My favorite race to play is Undead. I think Undead has the most carry potential (I play a lot of 2v2).
I started thinking about becoming a caster when I discovered WCG VoDs on youtube. I thought it was so cool that WC3 actually had casting. Back in 2012, I noticed there wasn’t many english casters so I decided to give it a shot.
2) How did the idea for ACS come about? How did you become involved? Were you active in the organization of the tournament, or did you choose to just focus on casting?
Urgi approached me at first and asked if I was interested. I immediately said yes! I made the promotional video and some graphics here and there. For the most part though, I’m mostly focused on casting.
3) Is casting ACS different from the usual games you cast? How does it feel to be the official caster of the tournament?
I enjoy casting replays, but live events are always more exciting. For ACS, every time I join a lobby I get so stoked. It’s so wonderful to see the best players from America face off. We don’t get to see these players battle it out too often. I’m honored to be casting for ACS and hope everyone is enjoying the coverage thus far :)
4) Last week for the group stages you co-casted with Thendis and Ena, and before the tournament began you casted some of the participant's ladder matches with DHamTV. Had you casted with anyone else before ACS? How have you found the experience so far, and is this something you will continue to try in the future?
I’ve had a couple of casts with ITrainHum (Andy) before ACS. I‘ve really enjoyed the co-casting. I’m still not that rehearsed but I enjoy the challenge. Each caster has their own style and you need to really analyze each situation in order to find that synergy. I’ll definitely partake in more dual-casts in the future.
5) Do you intend to cast tournaments like ACS in the future? Will you continue your role as an organizer, or was this a rare occasion?
I do intend to cast more tournaments similar to ACS (very soon actually!). I’m also open to help with organizing but at the moment, I’m mostly focused on improving as a caster.
6) How would you describe working with Over-Admire, Martial Spirit, and Ugrilainen to organize this tournament? Did you work together a lot, or did each do their own tasks? Have you ever organized with them before? Do you think you will do any events with them in the future?
Working with Over-Admire, Martial Spirit, and Ugrilainen has been fantastic. They’re all so passionate about keeping the scene alive and we’ve been in constant contact throughout the whole process. Each person has been leveraging their strengths effectively whether it be player contact, organizational skills, or networking. I’ve worked with Ugri once before with an American Challenge and I hope we continue working together. Overall, It’s been a pleasure working with with the whole team.
7) In your opinion, what does ACS mean for the Americas Warcraft scene? For you as a caster? Will ACS ever return after this year? Do you think it will pave the way for other high stakes tournaments for the Americas?
It means everything for the American scene. I think ACS will hopefully spark more consistent and larger tournaments for the region, which will hopefully translate to a more active player base. From casting just the group stage, America still has some very good talent. They just needed an opportunity to shine and I believe ACS is giving them that opportunity. I can’t say for certain but I hope ACS continues :)
8) Who was your favourite player going into the tournament? Who do you think has the best chances of winning?
My favorite player going in is definitely LongWalk. I remember watching him play at WCG 2009 and he’s been my favorite American player since. As Rotterdam once said “when he practices he’s good, he’s very good”. If LongWalk practiced, I think he’ll be able to win the tournament.
Note on Ugrilainen
Ugri is one of the most involved organizers in all of Warcraft. For nearly all major events you can be sure that he had a hand in its organization, and ACS is no exception. Ugri felt that he has had his time in the limelight and thus decided to let this article highlight some of the other hard-working organizers who often don't get credit for all that they do. Thank you Ugri for your humility!
If you wish to learn more about Ugrilainen read Ena's interview with him, or check out the second episode of B2W's podcast Scouted!
Thank you very much to Over-Admire, Martial Spirit, and DPort for taking the time to answer these questions. Thanks to them as well for all the work they do to keep Warcraft alive and healthy. I have been talking to them more and more thanks to ACS and I still did not realize how much they do for the scene before these interviews.
Big thank you as well for everyone involved in making ACS happen, from the organizers, to the players, to the viewers. This tournament has been simply splendid for me as a Canadian and for the America scene in general, and I am extremely grateful to everyone who has made it such an incredible tournament so far.